Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Daring Bakers May 2012: Challah!

May's Daring Bakers' Challenge was pretty twisted- Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from "A Taste of Challah" by Tamir Ansh, she encouraged us to make beautifully braided breads.
4 Strand loaf in the process

Getting ready to try my hand at 6 strands!
Of course, in the month that the husband and I decide we are going to try to eat less starches (which I am certain is going to kill me, I love bread, pasta and potatoes!) the challenge is challah, which I have wanted to make for a long time. I am glad I did this challenge- the braiding was fun and turned out better than I thought it would! I hadn't ever tried doing a 4 strand braid, much less a 6! I was so pleased with how my 4 strand loaf turned out, I decided to do 6 strands on the second.
4 Strand loaf on the right, 6 on the left.
4 strand on top, 6 on bottom
This weekend we are going camping with my husband's family and we are bringing along the challah to try French Toast on the grill. I'll let you guys know how that goes. We haven't actually eaten it yet, so I can't tell you how delicious it is but if the way it made our house smell is any indication, this bread is going to be worth returning to eating starch, however temporarily!

again, 4 strand on the right, 6 on the left
I made the Honey White version of this bread, although there were many other options in our challenge recipes. It all came down to what I had on hand and the fact that I was planning on making two other baked goods in the same night. This one required less rise time, so I went with it.

Honey White Challah

1 ½ cups warm water, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (2-⅔ packets) dry active yeast
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon oil
4 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoon salt
5 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed (up to 8-9 cups total)
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

1. In mixer bowl combine ½ cup warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to proof about 5 minutes until foamy.

2. To the yeast mixture add the honey, remaining water, oil, eggs, salt and 5 cups of flour. Knead until smooth, adding flour as needed. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.

3. Transfer dough to a clean, oiled bowl, turn to coat or add a bit more oil on top. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1½ hours.)

4. Punch down the dough, divide it into two sections. Use one half to make each loaf (shaped or braided as desired).

5. Place loaves on parchment lined or greased baking sheets (this is important- do use two separate sheets. I didn't and my bread rose so much in the oven the loaves ended up touching.) Cover with a towel, allow to rise 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 325℉.

7. Brush top of loaves with egg wash. (sprinkle with seeds or toppings here if wanted)

8. Bake loaves 30-40 minutes until done (will be golden) and cool on wire racks.


  1. Awesome job!! Both your four strand and your six strand look marvelous!! I can't believe you gave up starches, either. Crazy girl, what are you thinking? LOL! I made french toast with mine for dinner last night, and it was awesome, so I am sure yours will be great, too! Especially if you are making it on the grill while camping. YUM! :)

  2. Your challah looks really pretty and warm and tasty!